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February 2012

Archbishop Lucas anoints new altar, rededicates Springfield church

SPRINGFIELD - Archbishop George J. Lucas pulled up his sleeve and rubbed sacred chrism on the new marble altar at St. Joseph Church, making the sign of the cross on each corner before slowly working the sacred oil over the entire top of the altar.

"Bless this altar, built in the house of the church, that it may ever be reserved for the sacrifice of Christ, and stand forever as the Lord's table, where your people will find nourishment and strength," the archbishop prayed during the church's rededication Mass Feb. 3.

Reconciliation: A sacrament of joy

Jon Daly, a member of St. James Parish in Omaha, said he appreciates being able to sit across from the priest in confession - face to face.

It's a more personal experience, he said.

"The priest can read your body language. He can see if you're struggling with something and just having a hard time speaking about it," said Daly, 37. "Also, there is something really powerful about having his hand raised over your head when he gives you absolution and when he makes the sign of the cross of blessing over you." 

Make it personal when standing up for your rights

The controversy surrounding the recent federal mandate on insurance coverage of contraceptives and sterilization would seem to be an appropriate topic for a column in a Catholic newspaper.

The initial decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the ensuing modification offered by President Barack Obama deny rights of conscience and infringe on religious liberty. The regulations should be rescinded ... people morally opposed to these elective services/drugs should not be required to pay for them.

Concerns about religious liberty exist at federal and state levels

The federal Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) arrogant efforts to coerce all employers, including all but a narrow category of those with religious and moral objections, into purchasing health-insurance plans that cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception, are receiving the uproar and criticism they deserve. The threat this "preventive services" mandate poses to religious liberty is unmistakable.

The new age of restructuring

In an age of endless restructuring, will we ever be able to settle down and just enjoy the status quo? To answer this, we need to interpret what is meant by "turmoil." Does it connote chaos and pandemonium, or is it simply the commotion that comes with restructuring?

I believe it is both: restructuring generating commotion that is often interpreted as pandemonium.

Komen Foundation caves to Planned Parenthood shakedown

What a whipsaw of emotion the Susan G. Komen Foundation created with its vacillating decision regarding grants to Planned Parenthood (PP). For years, some of Komen's state affiliates have provided grants to PP, operator of America's largest abortion chain.

In large part due to the enormous controversy and ill will that was generated by Komen allowing funding to go to PP, Komen's leadership apparently tried to find a way to extricate itself from the "culture wars." Komen changed its grant-making criteria such that PP would no longer be eligible for grants.

Kindergartner donates 130 teddy bears

Kindergartner Teddy George of Mary Our Queen School in Omaha hugs a teddy bear in front of his "100 Teddys for Tots" project celebrating 100 days of school Jan. 31, an event that occurred during Catholic Schools Week. Tying an act of service into the school assignment of collecting 100 things, George asked friends and family to donate the stuffed animal toys for the children of Omaha's Lydia House and Open Door Mission. He took pictures of the bears and placed them on the poster. In the end, more than 130 bears were given away.

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